If you’re a 90’s kid, life was hard when you were growing up. Well, at least you thought so until you grew up and entered the world of “adulting.” Now, you know better; so why not take a look back at the challenges you faced and laugh?
1.) Never Enough Frosting
If you were a 90’s kid, you should remember Dunk-a-roos: snack-sized cookies with a side of frosting, with the idea to dip the cookie into the frosting. But why was there never enough frosting? It was as though the world was conspiring against your dessert each day at lunch. Cookies one, two, and three were perfectly coated in that sugary frosting, but once you tried to frost cookie number four, you were SOL. it wasn’t like you could tweet them and complain. And Life was hard.
Dunk-a-roos were delicious but shortlived and discontinued in the US in 2012. Good news for Canadians, though (or Americans with Canadian friends): Dunk-a-roos are still available in Canada! We make no guarantees about that frosting issue, though.
2.) Word Art Options
Did you add a creative title to your English paper using WordArt because you thought the teacher would give you bonus points for creativity?
Back before photoshop, insta filters, even digital cameras, there was WordArt. And we thought we were so creative when we used it. Thankfully, graphic design has come a long way since the 90’s and now we have literally hundreds of filters, emojis, and more to make up for what some of us lack in creative skills.
3.) ‘Texting’ in Class
Nowadays, when kids are caught texting in class, they simply have to lock their phones and the teachers will have no idea what was in the message.
90’s kids weren’t so lucky… When they were caught “texting” (or, “passing notes as it was called back then), the teacher would open the note and learn all your secrets. Remember trying to fold them in different shapes too in order to impress your friends?
4.) Koosh Balls
Did you have a koosh ball? They were the coolest! The original stress balls.
In retrospect, they were pretty weird – kinda like the fidget spinners of today. But definitely very, very cool.
5.) That Damn Cord
If you were a 90’s kid fortunate enough to own a Nintendo, Sega, Super Nintendo, or any of the other video game consoles, that cord struggle was real: it seemed that whenever you were about to make it to the next level or hit a new personal milestone, your mom, brother, or dog would run in, trip over the cord and accidentally disconnect you from the console! Thank goodness for wireless consoles these days.
And you thought that phone cord was bad enough… We at least had some reprieve from “cord-gate” with our Game Boys (during daylight hours, that is).
If sharing one phone line for talking and internet service wasn’t bad enough, how about when you “ran out of internet” minutes and had to get a new AOL disk?
Thankfully, it seemed as though you got a new AOL CD with the newspaper each week, and could quickly replenish those minutes.
7.) Light Up Kicks
If you were a 90’s kid with light up sneakers, you were one of the cool ones. Remember how cool you felt walking through the dark tunnels of your school and seeing your feet glow?
You were one of the coolest – that is until the lights went out on one shoe and you were left with only one glowing foot. Then, life was hard.
8.) Movie Time
YESSSS! If you were a 90’s kid, the best day of the year was Field Day. The second best was when your teacher would roll one of these into your class and you knew you’d be watching a movie.
You didn’t care that the movie was an educational movie and not something you’d ever willingly watch; the fact that you got to watch a movie rather than sit listening to the teacher was a win in your book! I’ll take magic school bus over cursive writing any day!
If you were a cool 90’s kid, chances are you had a Skip-It. They were the best!
The only trick was remembering to wear pants or tall socks. If you forgot, those things would kill your ankle.
Do you remember when Fridays at Blockbuster were your favorite way to end a week? Pre-DVDs, when you’d scan the aisles looking for the latest and greatest. If you made it through the entire movie without any problems, amazing. But there was always that concern that the VCR would eat your tape…
Adding insult to injury, Blockbuster would charge you if you returned a broken tape! For some reason, “the VCR ate my tape” just wouldn’t cut it. Kids these days with YouTube and digital media have no idea how hard we 90’s kids had it.
11.) Book Fairs
How amazing were the Scholastic Book Fairs? For those of us 90’s kids that loved to read, they were one of the days we looked forward to most all year (in addition to Field Day): dozens of new books like The Babysitters Club and Fear Street and usually a few dollars in our pockets to buy one.
Nowadays kids have an endless stream of new books thanks to Kindles, but back then, the Scholastic Book Fairs were clutch.
12.) The WORST
Oh, Capri Sun. We apologize for ruining so many of you due to improper straw placement! The worst was when this would happen on a hot day when you were particularly looking forward to your sugary orange drink fix. But once that straw poked through the other side, there was no turning back. That sugary sweetness just wouldn’t taste the same.
Were you an innovative kid who figured out you flip your Capri Sun upsidedown and poke the straw through the bottom? If so, we salute you. Yes, you had to drink it all in one sitting, but let’s face it: those things were small and it could easily be done.
13.) Before There Was TiVo, Before There Was DVR
More VCR problems. As if the VCR eating your tape wasn’t bad enough, there was always the problem of someone recording over your tape!
If you were a 90’s kid, you had your shows, and chances are you asked your mom to record them for you from time to time. Can you imagine today having to hit “record “in real-time rather than program it in advance? The only thing worse was when someone would accidentally record over one of your tapes that held your favorite show!
14.) Just Need to Adjust the Antennae a Bit More…
“A little to the right, a little to the left. Perfect! Now can you just stand there and hold that pose?”
If you’re a 90’s kid, you likely had that conversation at least once while asking someone to fix the antenna so your show would come in clearly! Before everyone had cable and/or satellite dishes, 90’s kids had tube TVs with antennas and varying degrees of tv quality. Remember when the tv would go blurry and you’d have to fiddle with the antennae until it was in the “just-right” position for clarity? You’re not a 90’s kid if you don’t!
15.) “Be Kind, Rewind”
Do you remember the phrase “Be Kind, Rewind?” If not, then you definitely missed the 90’s!
How about this: do you remember VHS tapes? How annoying was it when you’d get a tape and find that the previous viewer had failed to rewind it! The only thing worse was having to rewind it yourself, wait the 3+ minutes it took, during which time you’d have to close your eyes in order not to see some of the action.
16. Ohhh, Snap
If you were a 90’s kid, we guarantee you had at least one slap bracelet. They were the coolest! That is, until the fabric began to give way to metal and you started cutting yourself.
Did your school ban slap bracelets like so many did? That was a sad, sad day.
17. Before Apple Music
If you remember New Kids on The Block, you were definitely a 90’s kid, and one of the saddest days of your life was when they broke up! You probably bought their tape (yes, “tape,” because it came out before CD’s were big) just for “Be My Girl.”
Thankfully the rest of the tape was pretty good, but wasn’t that the worst when you had to by an entire tape just to hear one song? Kids these days will never understand.
18. Tape + Pencil = Miracle
Remember when you NKOTB tape got stuck in your boom box, you pulled it out, and realized half of the tape had unspooled? Thank goodness for pencils!
We doubt anyone who didn’t live through the 90’s would comprehend the above photo, much less understand the agony behind it. We do. And we’re glad those days are behind us!
19.) Gameboys at Night
Nowadays, kids have it all on road trip: iPads to watch their favorite movies, kindle’s to read (with backlight) and even 3D video games. 90’s kids didn’t have it as easy.
Do you remember back when Game Boy was around? It was great for road trips and made that time pass by so quickly. Until it grew dark and you realized your Game Boy didn’t have a backlight… Then, it was back to playing “twenty questions” with your sister.
If you were a 90’s child, you were fortunate enough to leave your pencils and tapes behind and embrace CDs. They held more songs! You didn’t have to flip them over! They were glorious! That is, until they started skipping…
There was nothing worse than realizing your CD was scratched, especially if it happened to be on your favorite song.
21.) Hypercolor T-shirts
If you were a 90’s kid, you likely had one (or more!) awesome t-shirt that changed colors depending on the temperature. They were the coolest!
That is, until your mom washed them too many times and they stopped changing colors…
22.) The TV Guide Channel
Nowadays, we complain when we spend an hour scrolling through Netflix and still can’t find anything to watch.
Remember when the only thing we had was the slow scrolling TV Guide channel? It was so frustrating when we’d go to the channel and realize the station we wanted to see had just scrolled by, and then we’d have to watch the channel for another ten minutes just to see what was on Nickelodeon.
These days, taking the perfect selfie is easy: you shoot about 15, select your fave, edit it like crazy, and delete the rest.
Back in the 90’s, before the days of digital cameras, you only had 24 potential photos per roll and no filters! Selfies were near-impossible. I personally liked the camera that would have a slide cover over lens to turn on, very fancy.
24.) Teen Mags
Teen Beat did have advantages over today’s sites though: they come with glossy pics of our favorite heartthrobs that we could adorn our walls with.
25.) That Cord
Remember when you only had one phone line for the entire house (and the internet) and it came with a curly-q cord that would become entwined in itself? That was the worst. If you were on top of things, you pulled out the cord each night and untangled it so it was better the following day. If not? That thing just got worse and worse each day.
Did you have a cordless phone? If so your life was slightly better, but we bet it was the size of a brick and died after one conversation. Kids these days with iPhones have no idea how hard we 90’s kids had it.
26.) Recording Your Favorite Song
Back in the 90s, kids couldn’t just go to iTunes and download their favorite song: they had to sit by the radio, blank tap in the tape deck, and hit record as soon as their song came on,
Kids these days have it so easy… Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify have made things so easy.
27.) Fortune Tellers
Back in the 90s, everyone was an amateur fortune teller. It was so easy and so fun!
Do you remember making these and predicting your friends’ futures?
28.) Multi-Colored Pens
These pens were the coolest! You could have 10+ colors in one pen, and each page of your homework could be a different color.
Did you try and pull out two colors at once? Hopefully, you didn’t break your pen in doing so like so many of us.
Did you play MASH as a kid? If you lived in the 90’s you probably did!
MASH was such a fun, creative way to pass time – and so much more fun when you were destined to live in a Mansion.
30.) Pink Noses (or Green, or Blue, or Purple…)
If you were a 90’s kid who liked to color, we guarantee you had these markers. They smelled so good, but often times you’d get the marker a little too close to your nose and end up with a colored nose! It was worth it, though. Especially for that watermelon pink marker.
If you didn’t have these markers and just had crayons (or – gasp– “regular” markers), then we feel bad for you.We may have had pink and purple noses, but at least we were able to experience the greatness of these markers.
31.) Sky Dancers
Did you have a Sky Dancer as a kid? They were so fun and aerodynamic! You’d pull the trigger and up into the air they’d fly, like magic. They were so much fun.
Until they flew back down and hit you in the face… Then, those “funy toys” became dangerous weapons in our minds!
32.) Shared Internet
Nowadays we complain about not having Fios, or when Netflix pauses for a second and the image becomes blurred. We just can’t deal with slow internet!
If you were a 90’s kid, however, you had it worse: you remember dial-up, and having to share one phone line between your entire family as though fought to make calls and get online.
32.) School Lunches
Back before nutrition was as big a “thing” as it is today, 90’s kids would buy school lunch and indulge in greasy pizza, hot dogs, cheeseburgers and other non-nutritional foods. That’s the part we 90’s kids loved – unlike today, those lunch ladies couldn’t have cared less if we had any fruits or veggies!
At least the schools provided milk – although, how frustrating was it when you’d open a carton and to have the above happen! Or worse, took a big slug and realized the milk had curdled…
33.) Inflatable Furniture
Before air mattresses, inflatable furniture was actually a thing. Or, an attempted thing. No one actually liked it, but at least it was a good conversation piece and was fun to play with.
Well, fun to play with until it deflated… And then you were stuck just sitting on the ground.
34.) Mini Toys
Did you have a Polly Pocket or Mini Max as a child? If you were a 90’s kid you probably did. We don’t know why kids 90’s kids loved these miniature toys so much, but they sure did.
They were great fun – until you left them on the floor and stepped on one barefoot. Then, it was shooting pain for days.
35.) Happy Halloween from Mickey D’s
If you were a 90’s kid, the only thing better than Halloween was collecting McDonald’s Happy Meal containers that could be used for trick-or-treating.
You thought they were the best; that is until Halloween came along and you realized they barely held any candy.
The 90’s were full of weird toys, and Furby’s were one of them. Reminiscent of Gremlins, these things always seemed to come alive at night when you were trying to sleep (and would then induce nightmares).
Furby’s were just plain creepy. Thankfully, these creatures lived (and died) in the 90’s.
37.) Before There Were iPhones
90’s kids didn’t have iPhones, they hadn’t even been invented back then. Not only that, but they most didn’t even have cell phones. And if they did? Those phones were for emergencies only.
If a 90’s kid needed to call his parents, he had to use a friend’s parents phone, or find the nearest phone booth.
38.) Dial-Up Internet
Remember having to make sure everyone was off the phone before you logged onto the internet? And then, sitting there as you listened to the phone line suddenly bring AOL to life? Well, if you’re a 90’skid you do and that sound was cringe-worthy. Would it work? Would it work quickly?
Nowadays, it seems like every child aged 10 and up not only has high-speed internet, but an iPhone as well! Our 10 year old selves would have balked at the idea in disbelief, then quickly seethed with jealousy until we had one of our own.
39.) You Got Addicted to Cards Early
Back in the 90’s, card games were addictive. With Pokemon, you couldn’t stop until you’d collected all of the cards!
40.) Is It Better To be Cute or Efficient?
We’re totally torn on this one, just as we were back in the day!
If you were a 90’s kid, chances are you had an eraser collection to complement your pencil collection. The erasers came in all shapes and forms: cute animals, your favorite cartoon character, and even fruits and veggies! Unfortunately, they didn’t work well, but they were cute. So, you were forced to decide: would you rather have a stylish pencil without the ability to erase mistakes without leaving smudges all over your paper, or a basic pencil but the option to make mistakes?
41.) Can You Give Me Directions?
Teens and adults these days are so lucky when it comes to directions: you simply enter the final address into your GPS or smartphone, and you not only have precise directions on how to get to your final destination but multiple choices for routes, as well.
90’s kids didn’t have it so easy. There were no GPS devices, so if you wanted to get to your best friend’s house, you’d have to have your mom call her mom, and then write the directions down by hand. If you got lost along the way? Things got even worse! You’d have to pull over to the side of the road and pull out an old fashioned map, or stop at a gas station and ask for directions.
42.) ‘Mom, Hang Up’
Before we had cell phones, one family would share a phone line. Can you imagine? Worse – every handheld phone was connected to the same line, so if your boyfriend called and your mom or sister was being nosey, she could simply pick up the phone in the other room and listen to every detail of your conversation.
Thank goodness we have cell phones now, for so many reasons.
43.) Phone Books
Back in the 90’s, kids had only a few options when it came to calling their friends: memorize the phone numbers, or look them up in the phone book.
Thankfully these days we all have iPhones that can hold all the numbers we need.
44.) Charging Stations
90’s kids didn’t have charging stations or portable chargers, they had batteries. Old, fashioned batteries. If they were afraid of running out of juice on a long trip, they simply brought more batteries along!
Car chargers didn’t exist back then, which is one of the reasons we’re grateful to be done with the 90’s.
45.) Computer Games
Back in the 90s, computer games were just starting out and people played them once a week, max, usually alone. Solitaire was a classic!
Thankfully games have changed over the past two decades and now we can not only on our phones but with people across the globe.
46.) When Your Music Didn’t Fit In Your Pocket
After Walkmen, Discmen were the best. If only they hadn’t been so bulky! Not only would they not fit in your pocket, but they were impossible to use while you worked out.
Thank goodness for iPods.
47.) When You Had More Tapes Than You Could Store
Thank goodness for digital media! Back in the 90’s, kids loved collecting movies, but those boxes would add up!
It got to the point where you had to figure out if buying another movie was worth the further reduction of space.
In the 90’s, research papers took days (or months) to write. Wikipedia hadn’t been invented yet, so kids turned to old fashioned encyclopedias and digital encyclopedias.
Thankfully times have changed and now we can just look everything up on Wikipedia and google!
49.) When You Learned The Dance Moves To Your Fave Songs on MTV
Back in the 90’s, you had to wait until your favorite song came on the radio to try and learn the lyrics, or wait until the video came on MTV.
Nowadays if you want to learn the lyrics and dance moves to your favorite song, you just go to youtube. 90’s kids didn’t have the luxury. We’re grateful times have changed!
50.) Caller ID
If you were a child of the 90’s, you likely loved making prank calls and could make as many as you wanted – because no one would know it was you!
Unfortunately for your prank call loving self, caller ID was invented and you had to put an end to the game. But at least then you knew who was calling you everytime the phone rang and could choose whether or not you wanted to answer.
51.) The App Store
Back in the 90’s, the App Store didn’t exist. If you wanted a new app or a computer game, you had to buy the floppy disc and then add the software to your computer.
Not only did you have to install it on your computer, but you had to wait while it downloaded, which could take hours.
52.) Fuller (And Fuller) House
If you were a kid in the 90’s, Full House was one of the best shows on the air. We were so sad when it was canceled!
Thankfully, Fuller House came out just a few years ago and we were able to see what Uncle Jesse and the crew had been up to throughout the years.
Want more 90’s nostalgia? Click “Next Story” for The Absolute Best of the 90’s: Toys and Games Edition.